TitleExploring the silence among children of prisoners
NameMuhammad, Bahiyyah (author), Veysey, Bonita M (chair), Christian, Johnna (internal member), Henriques, Zelma (outside member), Martinez, Damian (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - Newark,
Children of prisoners,
Children of prisoners--Mental health
DescriptionThe current incarceration rate is at an historic high, with more than 1 in every 100 adults serving time in Federal and State prisons (Pew Center on the States, 2010). With more than half of all incarcerated adults in the United States being parents, many children are directly affected by parental incarceration. Research on children of incarcerated parents provides limited information resulting in few services responding to their needs (Bernstein, 2005; Eddy and Poehlmann, 2010; Henriques, 1982; Johnston, 1995; McGowan and Blumenthal, 1978; Muhammad, 2008, 2009; Pew Center on the States, 2008; 2010; Phillips, 2010). Although the U.S. government’s criminal justice data collection agency, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, has provided national estimates of children affected by parental incarceration, the actual complex nature of the problem remains unclear. To respond to these lack of data, researchers have investigated children of the incarcerated by talking to their parents, caregivers and family members. Although 1 in every 28 children has an incarcerated parent (Pew Center on the States, 2010), few studies have directly focused on children. This absence has resulted in a limited understanding of their circumstances. Therefore, this qualitative dissertation explored the experiences and perceptions of young urban children of the incarcerated through semi-structured interviews. These data were collected from a sample of 57 child participants, aged 7-18 years, who resided in New Jersey and who were recruited from a local community organization. The findings indicate that children’s experiences are often different than what others describe them to be. Respondents described both negative and positive effects of parental imprisonment. Among the negative consequences was enforced and voluntary silence regarding their parents, the use of drugs and alcohol to cope with parental incarceration, and uncertainty in changing homes and schools. Among the positive experiences were comfort in their foster care placements and with their grandparents, new opportunities in new schools, and improved communication with their incarcerated parent. These findings have implications for programs and policy related to the well-being of children and their families affected by parental incarceration.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Note[by By Bahiyyah Miallah Muhammad]
CollectionGraduate School - Newark Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.